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Holi, the festival of colors, is not just a celebration of spring's arrival but also a reflection of India's rich cultural diversity. While the mainstream festivities paint the nation in vibrant hues of joy and exuberance, lesser-known celebrations exist across the country, each carrying its unique cultural significance.

These traditions offer a fascinating glimpse into India's diverse landscape, where the spirit of Holi is expressed through various customs and rituals. Let's embark on a journey to explore some of these lesser-known Holi celebrations, each adding its distinct flavor to the festival's tapestry.



  • Lathmar Holi in Barsana and Nandgaon: Originating from the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh, Lathmar Holi is a riotous affair where women playfully beat men with sticks, symbolizing the legendary mock battle between Lord Krishna and Radha. In Barsana, the village women wield lathis (sticks) to fend off men from Nandgaon, who try to smear them with colors. The festivities culminate in a colorful display of camaraderie and folklore, attracting visitors from far and wide to witness this unique spectacle of Holi.

  • Manjal Kuli in Kerala: While Holi is not traditionally celebrated with the same fervor in Kerala as in North India, the coastal town of Guruvayur hosts a unique variation known as Manjal Kuli. Here, turmeric paste mixed with water is used instead of colored powders, symbolizing prosperity and fertility. The celebrations are accompanied by traditional music, dance, and feasting, adding a unique flavor to the festival in this southern state.

  • Hola Mohalla in Anandpur Sahib: Originating in the Sikh tradition, Hola Mohalla is a grand martial arts festival celebrated in Anandpur Sahib, Punjab. Established by the 10th Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh, it serves as a day for military exercises and mock battles to demonstrate Sikh martial arts. While not traditionally associated with colors, the festival coincides with Holi and is celebrated enthusiastically, featuring processions, mock fighting, and displays of Sikh martial prowess.

  • Royal Holi in Udaipur: Udaipur, the City of Lakes, hosts a regal celebration of Holi that echoes the grandeur of its royal heritage. Organized by the Mewar royal family at the City Palace, the festivities include elaborate ceremonies, traditional music, dance performances, and a grand procession. It offers locals and tourists alike a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan.


  • Dol Jatra in West Bengal: In West Bengal, Holi is celebrated as Dol Jatra or Dol Purnima, where devotees smear each other with colored powders and sing devotional songs to mark the divine love of Lord Krishna and Radha. In Shantiniketan, the hometown of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Dol Jatra is celebrated with great fervor as part of the Basanta Utsav spring festival, showcasing Bengal's unique cultural traditions.